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USA: EarthRights International files brief on behalf of human rights and labour organizations urging a rehearing of the Kiobel Alien Tort case against Shell re alleged abuses in Nigeria

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Article
18 October 2010

ERI Files Brief for Human Rights and Labor Groups Challenging Corporate Immunity for Abuses

Author: EarthRights International

On behalf of a coalition of human rights and labor organizations, EarthRights International (ERI) filed an amicus brief challenging a recent court decision that granted corporations immunity from lawsuits alleging serious human rights abuses. In Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided that corporations could not be sued under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), a U.S. law that allows lawsuits for violations of international law--including human rights abuses such as torture and crimes against humanity…Major human rights and labor groups joined together to support a rehearing in the Kiobel case…All the groups are concerned with the enforcement of international law against corporations, and disagree with the Second Circuit's decision and reasoning.

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Article
14 October 2010

[PDF] Kiobel, et al. v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, et al. - Brief of Amici Curiae Human Rights and Labor Organizations in Support of Plaintiffs'-Appellants' Petition for Rehearing and for Rehearing En Banc

Author: EarthRights International

Amici curiae are eleven human rights and labor organizations concerned with the enforcement of international law, including remedies against corporations. (A full list of amici and their interests is attached.) Amici believe that international law is primarily enforced through domestic mechanisms and that there is a global consensus that corporations are subject to human rights law. Limiting accountability for human rights violations to norms and actors subject to international tribunals, excluding abuses committed or abetted by corporations, among others, would severely undermine global efforts to protect human rights, contrary to the efforts of amici.

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Article
14 October 2010

[PDF] Kiobel, et al. v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, et al. - Petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc for Plaintiffs-Appellants-Cross-Appellees

Author: Carey d'Avino & Paul Hoffman, counsel for the Petitioners

The majority decision directly conflicts with Eleventh Circuit decisions allowing claims against corporations under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). The decision is a radical departure from established ATS jurisprudence...In addition to creating a circuit split, the majority opinion plainly addresses an issue of "exceptional importance" and en banc review is essential to maintain the uniformity of this Court's decisions…Deciding such an important issue without briefing, argument or notice to the parties, where the issue is plainly not jurisdictional, subverts accepted standards of appellate process. Rehearing en banc is appropriate to ensure that this Court's decision-making procedures are respected and parties before the Court receive the process they are due.

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